Review by Luke Williams
The collective known as The77 Publications are a hive of industry. Already publishing The ’77, Blazer, Pandora, now they’ve launched This Comic Is Haunted, a homage to the EC and Warren comics of the 1950s, 60s and 70s and IPC’s Scream, the latter forever punching above its weight in influence, considering its short life span.
Hosted by editor “The Grey Phantom”, possibly the least spooky thing about it, This Comic Is Haunted hosts an impressive range of creators. Behind a very attractive variant cover by Alex Ronald are six stories, across 36 pages a mix of one offs and serials of a variety of takes on the theme of horror, or at least mild psychological discomfort.
Starting off strong with the first part of Jo Heeley and Ian Stopforth’s “The Lodger”, which is going for the psychological horror invading the mundane angle, disturbances in a council tower block. Spooky and evenly paced plotting and haunting, coldly coloured art, lending an unsettling atmosphere.
Legendary writer Alan Hebden and 2000AD Thought Bubble winner Lee Milmore contribute the decidedly less subtle and on the nose title of “The Drummer From Hell”. It’s a riff (ahem) on the old adage of the “devil has all the best tunes”, as said apparently inferno-spawned stickwoman joins an underperforming pop duo. Milmore’s art is superclean, but perhaps a little too clean for a horror book.
British comics veteran Bambous Georgiou and Gary Burley’s one-off Pictish zombie one off, “Hill of the Dead”, is an interesting spin on your usual tale of the undead, warring tribes find that death certainly isn’t the end. Burley’s art and figure work has a touch of late period McMahon about it.
“Tina’s Party” by academic Catherine Wild and Andrew Richmond is an unsettling tale confirming that sometimes there is a reason someone is an outsider. Richmond’s art is soft focus and dreamlike which adds to the general air of disquiet, let down by the anti climactic payoff.
“The Bones of Winter” is less horror, more magical fantasy, at least so far. Set in the west country which gives it some grounding, in spirit it’s a middle aged version of 2000AD’ s“Summer Magic”. Great script by Dave Heeley and bold art Mark Marren using colour to good effect.
Lew Stringer brings up the rear with a one page zombie gag strip in “Short Sharp Shock”, managing to gently poke fun at the horror genre and its fans.
This is a great package, a wide variety of horror or supernaturally themed strips in a high quality format. Recommended.
• This Comic is Haunted and other The77 publications are available from BigCartel | GetMyComics
Brought up on a diet of Commando, British Boys Annuals and Asterix, Lucas Williams’s day job limits his reading time. Luckily for everyone else this also restricts his writing time.